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Linda Little Wolf

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Great Spirit Horse
by Linda Little Wolf   

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Books by Linda Little Wolf
· Visions of the Buffalo People
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Publisher:  Pelican Publishing Company ISBN-10:  1589801237 Type: 


Copyright:  Jun 1 2001 ISBN-13:  9781589801233

Barnes &
Native Visions
Pelican Publishing Company
Pelican Publishing Company

Based on Native American folklore, readers will follow the Great Spirit Horse on his journey, as he receives magical gifts from other creatures of the Great Plains and discovers his true destiny.

Centuries ago, the Plains Indians gazed upon a wondrous creature. They named it Sunka Tanka (shoon-kah tahn-kah), the "Great Dog." The European colonists called it Horse. This animal dramatically changed the lives of the nomadic tribes of the Great Plains; physically and spiritually, as well. During the Golden Era of the Buffalo People, the horse eventually became the inspiration behind countless legends. "Great Spirit Horse" is based on Plains Indian folklore that has been passed down in the oral tradition for generations. It reflects the plains peoples' response to their first encounter with spotted blue-eyed horses. The Great Spirit Horse, himself, describes his birth and his early years on the Great Plains. As a yearling, he begins an incredible journey, where he is gifted great powers or "medicine" from the animal kingdom. The brown and white spotted blue-eyed horse's destiny is slowly revealed, as he is transformed into the supernatural legendary stallion, Sunka Wakan (shoon-kah wah-kahn). Join Sunka Wakan on his adventure, meet his family herd, explore the Great Plains of yesteryear and all of her wonderful inhabitants, while discovering the rich culture of the Plains Indians. 

"....Enough!" seethed Raven. He walked slowly toward Sandstorm, his neck arching in rage. "It sounds as though you wish to challenge my leadership, Sandstorm. Leave now or prepare to defend yourself."
I wondered if it was all really happening. Many questions began to race through my mind. Who would have the audacity to challenge Raven? His prowess was legendary. Would Raven be strong enough to defend the herd, or would he be driven away forever? Would he survive the challenge?
My family backed away from the two stallions. I saw Sandstorm's mares retreat, as well.
"What is your answer, horse?" demanded Raven. "Will you fight, or will you flee?"
Sandstorm stood his ground. "I will fight," he trumpeted. I screamed, "No, Father, no!" My frantic cry went unnoticed.........................
The pounding hooves and angry cries echoed over the prairie. The stallions reared skyward. Their muscles were straining, as their legs pawed the air in fury. With ears pinned back and teeth barred, Raven lunged for his opponent's withers. In anticipation, Sandstorm turned sharply and kicked out. His razor-sharp back hooves left a serious gash on my father's foreleg. Raven jerked back, as blood streamed down his leg. The dun seized the opportunity to press the attack and proceeded to bite and nip the injured leg. Raven dropped to his knees, to prevent the challenger from causing additional damage. Sandstorm, a wily fighter, mimicked my father's movements.
Through the churning dust, the stallions continued their vicious assault on exposed legs. They both realized that sufficient injury to an opponent's legs would lead to a quick victory.
Raven managed to inflict an exacting bite to the dun's knee. Sandstorm briefly lowered his eyes to inspect his wound and foolishly dropped his guard. It was the moment for which my father had been waiting. In seconds, he jumped back up on all four legs. Before Sandstorm could rise and gain his balance, Raven wheeled and delivered a powerful kick to the dun's hindquarters. Sandstorm squealed in agony and fell hard on his side.
A tense silence enveloped the herd, as Raven stood over Sandstorm's crumpled body. We waited for our leader to destroy his enemy, but the rage began to leave his eyes. Then, he did something that surprised all of us. He sighed deeply, shook his head, and slowly walked away. The fight was over as quickly as it had begun.
Sandstorm's mares raced past Raven to assist their leader. My father, however, was not completely finished with him. "Sandstorm, I cannot beleive that you defeated Redmane fairly. I think you ended his life through some foul play. Redmane was a great wolf-fighter. I know. In our early years together we could chase off any wolf pack on the Great Plains. As for the rest of Redmane's herd, your poor leadership was undoubtedly the cause of their deaths. As a leader, I despise you for that. Your mares are in need of rest, plenty of sweet grass, and water. A short distance from here is one of my favorite grazing lands. Nearby is a stream. Take your mares there and stay until you have regained your strength. When you are well enough to travel, leave my land. Take Two Socks and Moonshadow. They will remain with you until they learn respect and tolerance for all members of my herd. Remember Sandstorm, you will never set hoof on my domain, until you learn what it is to be a true leader."
Having said this, Raven's eyes searched for Star face. Knowingly, she cantered to my father's side. Without speaking, she looked intently into his weary eyes. Her sigh of releif was answered by a reassuring wink.
I saw my father in a new light. He limped past me, covered with sweat, blood and dust, his mane was tangled and matted. I stared, in complete awe of him. I realized that on that very day, at that precise moment, my father had become my hero............

Professional Reviews

"....Preadolescent children will enjoy this heartfelt story narrated by the gentle voice of Sunka Wakan. As a gift for the young horselover, the Breyer Animal Creations' model of the Great Spirit Horse could be paired with this adventurous book, to enhance the telling of the legend."

by Susanne Lansing

" Although Ms. Little Wolf occasionally overdoes the anthropomorphism of her equine cast, she has done a superb job of making this traditional story both educational and entertaining. The book is a fine introduction to Native American folklore and traditions for both the youngsters it is intended for and their parents. For certain, this gently amusing book will appeal to horselovers of all ages.

She has subtitled her book "Otoka," which is the Lakota word for "beginning." One hopes this means there will be more tales like this one - and the quality of this book makes that something to be eagerly anticipated." by Elizabeth K. Burton


"The author retells a Great Plains legend of Sunka Wakan, the Great Spirit Stallion that came into the world as a blue-eyed multi-spotted colt. She skillfully tells in first person narrative about a time long ago when animals and forces of nature could talk.

...This would be a wonderful book as a gift for our children and grandchildren. It would be high interest reading for those who want to pass on Native American lore and tradition and to keep the stream of storytelling alive and thriving. But readers of all levels will enjoy this dramatic, fast moving tale by an author, who has established herself as both successful author and motivational speaker."

Bunkhouse Reviews - Western Horseman 6/2003
.....This clear, easy to read, mythical tale explains the power behind the blue-eyed tobiano's markings, plus it offers an educational look into American Indian history, culture and traditions, and weaves an inspirational message for horse lovers. Written from Sunka Wakan's perspective, the horse takes you on a journey to find peace, harmony, and freedom.

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Reader Reviews for "Great Spirit Horse"

Reviewed by james 11/28/2005
Medicine Hat is the name applied to horses exhibiting a unique and rare pattern of color. Being mostly white in body, Medicine Hats have color on their ears and top of the head which resembles a bonnet. Color on the chest is termed a shield. A line of color appears down the back from withers to tail head, need not be in a solid line. Other areas of color vary, but may show around one or both eyes and in the flanks. Often one or both eyes are partially or totally blue, especially when the area around the eye is lacking pigmentation. There are exceptions, some have dark eyes surrounded by white skin. Medicine Hats may be of any base color, often roaning of the base color is present as well. Medicine Hats are described by their base color such as bay Medicine Hat, black roan Medicine Hat, chestnut Medicine Hat etc.. War Bonnet is a name given to horses of a similar pattern which exhibit less color, usually having just a bonnet and very little, if any, other colored areas.

Legend has the Medicine Hat Horse appearing in Native American culture, being used as a Ceremonial Horse, Buffalo Runner, and a War Horse. Some of the Plains Tribes which considered the Medicine Hat to be supernatural protection against harm were the Sioux, Cheyenne, Blackfoot, Comanche and Kiowa Tribes. Paintings of special symbols were used on the mostly white Medicine Hats to add strength to the horse and depict special events, such as battles and captured ponies, in the life of his rider.
Reviewed by luke 9/30/2002
Reviewed by ben ryder 6/26/2002

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